Qualcomm’s first under-display fingerprint reader, the 3D Sonic Sensor, didn’t exactly live up to its hype. Unlike optical fingerprint sensors that use light for taking an image of the fingerprint, the chipmaker used ultrasound to create 3D impressions. However, security, speed, inaccuracy issues plagued these sensors, to which Qualcomm apparently has the solution in the form of its 3D Sonic Max, the next generation of under-display fingerprint technology.
Qualcomm Not Only Addresses the Speed Issues Found in the Previous-Generation Ultrasonic Fingerprint Reader, but 3D Sonic Max Also Allows Two-Finger Authentication
According to Qualcomm, the 3D Sonic Max is 17 times larger than its predecessor and measures 20mm x 30mm, which means the area of the display that will recognize your fingerprint will be much larger. Thanks to this bigger authentication surface area, it will also be possible to scan two fingerprints simultaneously, which will result in improved overall security. Moreover, a larger sensor will also be able to capture more information, which will theoretically make it harder to spoof the process.
Qualcomm says that it wants it to have an accuracy rate of one in a million. The scanner will also be able to identify the shape of your finger and it will use geometric signs for better identification. Apart from offering better security, which is all too paramount after what happened with Samsung’s flagships, the 3D Sonic Max is also being billed as a speedier scanner. It has been made on a thin-film-transistor (TFT) and is 0.15mm thin, allowing it to keep a small footprint. Moreover, this will also enable the manufacturers to keep the cost of its handsets down.
Ultrasonic sensors will still be more expensive than optical ones, and a reduction in cost can increase their popularity. According to a recent report, the iPhone 12 might include an in-screen ultrasonic fingerprint reader from Qualcomm, which suggests that if things go according to place, it just might feature the 3D Sonic Max scanner. Funnily enough, Samsung is rumored to instead go for an optical sensor and after the security fiasco that happened with its Galaxy S10 lineup, who can blame the Korean behemoth.
However, if Qualcomm’s second-generation in-display fingerprint scanner turns out to be better and secure than the first one, we can see more mobile manufacturers adopt it in their future handsets.